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Ocean Networks launches submarine cable system project connecting US to Panama

Ocean Networks launches submarine cable system project connecting US to Panama

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Ocean Networks launches submarine cable system project connecting US to Panama.

Ocean Networks has launched its Caribbean Express (CX) Project, an 18-fiber pair submarine cable system linking Florida to Panama.

The CX system will utilize Space Division Multiplexing (SDM) technology to connect West Palm Beach (Florida), Balboa (Panama), Cancun (Mexico) and Cartagena (Colombia) with high speed, low latency fiber-optic connectivity. In addition, the system will be designed for future connectivity to other countries along the route.

Significant capital has already been invested in advancing the route development including market analysis, permit and environmental studies and securing landing party agreements.

To complete the funding of this US$300 million project, ONI has engaged Commenda, an Atlanta-based merchant bank. For the past 10 years, Commenda has worked with family offices and corporate, strategic and governmental funds as well as US and foreign banks to privately fund projects like the Caribbean Express network.

“The consumer demand for a new submarine cable system between Central America and the US is enormous. Traffic is nearly doubling every two years,” said John R. Runningen, a Founder and Principal of Commenda.

“As a result, ONI has already received significant subscriber interest from large IT and telecom customers who are anxious to expand their presence in these new and under-served consumer markets.”

ONI management has confirmed that several large corporate customers have already indicated an interest in either a dedicated fiber pair or managed bandwidth as soon as this high speed SDM system is completed in early 2024.

A new submarine cable system like ONI’s Caribbean Express, is critical to the economies of the Central and South American countries and it has strategic significance to all the companies that want to do business in these countries.

As a result, there may be several governmental partners in this project as well. Because of this, ONI has positioned ‘Branching Units’ in strategic locations along the route to easily enable future connectivity.

The CX system provides quick and easy access to new markets with diverse routing options, high-speed connectivity and very low latency. Upon completion CX will be the only system that can offer new dedicated dark fiber pair IRUs in the Caribbean market. In conjunction with the remaining capital commitments, supplier RFQs will be issued next month to selected system suppliers, with the awarded Contracts in Force (CIF) by July 2021. The estimated Ready for Service (RFS) date will be in early 2024.

Ocean Networks brings an experienced and accomplished team of professionals who on average, have each been working in the submarine cable system industry for 25 years. The ONI team combined has over 150 years of experience and has worked on over 100 cable systems worldwide.

“We are excited about launching this new submarine cable digital superhighway across the Caribbean,” said Robert Hildebrecht, Ocean Networks’ CFO.

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